From tiny acorns mighty oak trees grow – RSA is back in town

Security bods converge on the cool gray city of love

RSA Conference You better watch out, you better not spam, you better not phish, I'm telling you why: RSA is coming to town.

For the 32nd year there's an RSA conference and an estimated 35,000 security folk are converging on San Francisco for an event that has become an icon – in good ways and bad. What started as a few folks meeting in a space to push an encryption idea has grown into a mass gathering that, pre-COVID, was hitting 50,000 attendees.

These days it's quieter. RSA did the hybrid conference thing for a year or so but now it's all in on physical conferences. That's not surprising given the amount of expo cash to be had, but it also brings interesting folk into the fold.

Our security editor Jessica Hardcastle will be moderating a session on the first day and no prisoners will be taken.

It has been interesting to see how the show has developed over the years. This hack is a 20-year veteran of the conference and seen it morph from a bunch of geeks with some interesting ideas into a global phenomenon – albeit with some caveats.

Nine years ago we had the alt-RSA con with TrustyCon, after it became apparent that RSA had borked the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) encryption for cash – a claim still denied.

And then there was the fiasco of 2018, when the show's organizers insisted there were no women to be had for keynotes. This was quickly disproved with the Our Security Advocates or OURSA conference, which took less than a day to organize. The conference team learned from this, although this year's con line-up looks like it's a bit male heavy.

Nevertheless we have the heads of the top cyber security businesses giving talks at the show. Of course, they aren't all great – RSA has nothing to do with the show itself these days, having sold the rights to a private equity firm in 2022. But it's still a good gathering and much of the show's business is done in lobbycon, where proper connections are to be had.

So we'll enjoy the event and meeting up with friends, listening to good talks, and chewing the security fat. El Reg will be in the floor snouting out stories, so say hello if you see us. ®

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